Car Spots Aim in Wrong Direction

DETROIT Automakers pursuing the elusive youth demographic are chasing the wrong economic quarry, according to a study from auto industry marketing research and consultancy firm AutoPacific, which found baby boomers have the economic means that should drive advertising efforts.

The study stated that only 10 percent of car ads are aimed at consumers over 50, faulting an approach that seems to play down a demographic with three-quarters of the nation’s financial assets and $2 trillion in disposable income annually.

“You have to look and see that the oldest boomer is hitting 60 but the youngest is 41,” said George Peterson, president of Tustin, Calif.-based AutoPacific. “So all boomers are not geriatric by any means. But it appears that the advertising world is abandoning them in droves.”

He also noted that vehicles aimed at the younger demographic, generally thought of as between 25 and 34, are often bought by older people in an industry where the average age of a buyer is 48.

“The Honda Element is a pure baby boomer vehicle, even though it was intended to be a youth vehicle,” said Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research in Bandon, Ore. “The baby boomers hijacked that.”